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Scientific study reveals the most important instrument in a band

Laura  Barnes
Scientific study reveals the most important instrument in a band

Since the dawn of time, musicians have battled it out to prove their worth within a band.

Even the best of friends have squabbled over whether it’s really necessary to have yet another 5-minute guitar solo plonked in the middle of a new song.

Bassists from all corners of the globe have stormed off in a huff because they’ve been asked to “just play the root notes”.

Many a drummer has rolled their eyes when the rest of the band has agreed that “drummers have an easy job”.
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Keyboardists are just happy to be there*…

OK, so not every musician is egotistical enough to think they are the most important member of the band…right?

Well, just in case you DID want to settle the score once and for all, new scientific research on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has uncovered what the most important instrument in a band is.

It turns out we’d all be making crap music if it wasn’t for those fantastic bassists out there.

According to the report: “Superior time perception for lower musical pitch explains why bass-ranged instruments lay down musical rhythms.

“In addition to the widespread musical practice of using bass-range instruments to lay down the rhythmic foundation of music, a few behavioural studies suggest that lower-pitched voices dominate time processing, both in terms of perception and in determining to which voice people will align body movements.

“In music, bass onsets tend to mark strong beat positions. For example, in stride and ragtime piano, bass notes lay down the pulse on strong beats whereas higher-pitched notes play syncopated aspects of the rhythm. Similarly, popular and dance music commonly contains an isochronous “four-on-the-floor” bass drum pulse. This pulse is critical for inducing a regular sense of beat to synchronise with and provides a strong rhythmic foundation on which other rhythmic elements such as syncopation can be overlaid.”

Essentially, this research shows that those who listen to music seek out a bass line in order to tap along, dance to and ‘feel’ the song being played.

So, if you’re a bassists, this research may help you finally convince your band to let you do that bass solo you’ve been working on…

*Keyboardists are, of course, a valid member of any band. No, seriously...

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